Featured Slider

I actually go to London frequently but for some reason haven't blogged about it since 2013 when I did this lolable post and also this even weirder one

This time, however, I have compiled a decently wordy piece on where we went and what we did because there are some places which are amazing and you just absolutely have to go if you can.

We didn't have THAT much time as it was a fleeting visit, but we crammed in some amazing eateries (which we had discovered via Instagram), bars and even an exhibition (luckily we didn't have to queue for 678687839 hours like we did for the last one we attended - Mademoiselle Prive at the Saatchi Gallery was free entry and we went midday on a weekend cos we are stupid). 

In my post on the highlights of London, I mention way more places than we managed to get to this weekend, so if you want more inspo head here. But do read on for a snappy little overview of my weekend.

Breakfast

For breakfast we went to Friends of Ours in Shoreditch. A tiny little place, you wouldn't really notice it from the outside (unless you saw the queues which developed as we were leaving) , but their Instagram popularity/photogenic food is so significant that the menu features an extra little side note saying that, if you're in doubt, you should check Instagram for many shots of their delicious dishes (or something along these lines). I applaud this because all I ever feel like doing when I'm reading a menu is checking Instagram for visual proof of said meal quality. I mean, a picture rly does speak a thousand words. For proof of this just Google Eggs Benedict, while most look amazing, some look not so fabulous, and then there are the Benedict Cumberbatch variety...

Once inside, we were seated on a long bench as all the little tables were full (this was 10am, it's mega popular), which although I'm sometimes a bit wary of sharing my personal space with strangers actually proved quite useful in this instance because we got to be nosy and view real life live previews of a range of meals - they all looked amazing, especially the scrambled eggs which I'd have to try if I returned. 

I have a sweet tooth however, so I opted for the Coconut Rice Pudding which came with raspberries, blueberries, roasted plum, hazelnut crumb, toasted coconut chips and plum syrup, which was all vegan and gluten free, while Sian got the Sweetcorn and Potato Fritters with roasted beetroot, kasundi, feta, mint, poached egg, avocado and coriander - all of which is vegetarian and gluten free. I also got some delish Japanese tea...

Friends of Ours Shoreditch brunch
Friends of Ours Shoreditch coconut rice breakfast


Culture

We visited the V&A for the Records and Rebels exhibition. I don't technically think I was supposed to photograph this exhibition but YOLO it was gr8. It takes you through the years and social changes and includes some real moon rock (the geek in me was mesmerised) Jimmy Hendrix's smashed guitar and some rather amusing communications between festival goers written on paper plates and signs - thank goodness we now have mobile phones, and please festival gods, never let them run out of battery because this looked traumatic. 

Oh and the exhibition also includes a headset which as well as giving you interesting info, has the best playlist of songs from the era.

V&A Records and Rebels sixties
Records and rebels v&a


Lunch

For lunch we went to Farmstand in Covent Garden. Everything is well sourced and well cooked. You can build your own lunch box for £7.50 with one main (the mains include salmon, meatballs, aubergine, beef and chicken) and two sides which include mixes of grains, beans and veg all cooked with herbs and spices.

Alternatively, if you're as indecisive as Sian they will be so sick of you they'll let you have half portions of six sides. She got the meatballs, broccoli, sweet potato, bean, pepper and pumpkin mix and some other stuff which I can't remember as extra. I got the aubergine, bean mix and sweet potato. As you can see below, the drink options were also amazing, and we got a brownie and Sweet Muffin (made dairy and gluten free with blueberry, coconut, chia seeds and unrefined coconut sugar). 

Farmstand Covent Garden lunch box
Farmstand Covent Garden drinks
Farmstand Covent Garden interior
Farmstand Covent Garden muffin brownie


 Drinks

For drinks we went to Sky Garden which is essentially a venue in a greenhouse atop a skyscraper. The views are amazing, as discovered via Instagram, but unfortunately we went on the only day you couldn't actually see out of the windows, or venture out on to the terrace due to the terrible weather. As you can see below we did actually vaguely spot the Gherkin.

Regardless of the fact the main appeal of this place was rendered useless, it's still lovely with greenery everywhere and cocktails which are a work of art (pricey at £12, but it's worth it). I got the Flower Power gin cocktail and it was so attractive that people were asking me which one it was.

Sky Garden London Flower Power cocktailSky Garden London Flower Power cocktail

That turned out not to be that snappy didn't it... If you would like to hear more of my ramblings on this city, as I say, head here for the ultimate guide!x






48 hours in London

1. Hot pink
I hate being a stereotypical girl but I love pink (although I really am highly stereotypical and I don't do much about it). It is just so bold and eye catching and pretty, and this hot shade makes an excellent change from the tame pastels of previous fashion weeks. It reminds me of my B&Q wall paint colour of choice at the age of ten which immediately got knocked back by my mum, I think it was called something along the lines of Sexy Pink...

SS17 Topshop Unique pink
Topshop Unique


2. 80s silhouette
YES big shoulders small waist - a flattering silhouette which I am definitely on board for. I'm happy about the large shoulder trend especially as my shoulders are oversized as is and it always makes like easier if your bone structure is on trend. Time to invest in a waist cinching belt and shoulder pads.

Saint Laurent metallic mini dress ss17
Saint Laurent


3. Flower Power
Forever a fan of the floral print I will undoubtedly be jumping aboard this beaut of a trend. Go hard or go home in my opinion - there's no shying away with a ditsy print.

Isabel Marant floral hotpants ss17
Isabel Marant


4. Graphic
Best worn in the form of knitwear in my opinion - a bold statement jumper is on my wish list.

Proenza Schouler ss17 stripes
Proenza Schouler


5. Skin tight
Spandex is fashionable apparently. From leggings to full-on jumpsuits, skin tight clothing is back, looking cool and providing yet more reason to go to the gym...

Balenciaga floral jumpsuit ss17
Balenciaga


6. Metallics/iridescent materials
I am like a magpie in that I am always drawn to anything shiny. Iridesence just makes shiny stuff even prettier in my opinion so if I see a bold AF purple/pink retina offending skirt I will probs invest, yes.

Kenzo


7. Sheer
I love this look. I would definitely wear a sheer skirt/dress on a night out, or I would shove a sheer t-shirt under a strappy dress.

Dior


8. Yellow
Having been put off this colour for the past 16 years after my parents decorated my room in the sunshine shade from birth-7yrs old, I am finally regaining my appreciation of it. It's quite a happy colour really isn't it - and a great signifier of Spring. New year, new me, no more yellow-hating. I actually think a bright yellow jumper would look amaze.

Prada

9. The polka dot
I've always loved this print, stripes and polka dots are my ultimate faves when it comes to geometrics in fashion and while the star print lives on, I'm so glad this has returned, it has that classic, vintage, stylish vibe which you just can't beat.

Dior


10. Fringing
I have always been looking for an excuse to invest in a fringed leather jacket, they're just so nice, and a refreshing change from the standard All Saints biker - don't get me wrong I love mine, but one jacket style for life is just unacceptable I feel.

Rodarte





Top 10 2017 Fashion Trends

Velvet trousers and off the shoulder crop top



velvet trousers and off the shoulder crop top
Necklace: Primark (altered - I pulled off some feather details)
Velvet trousers: Pretty Little Thing
This is what I wore for New Year's Eve however I reckon it's the least NYE-esque outfit ever. I really wanted to go all out with sparkliness and wear this Motel dress but alas I decided to try to maintain my fitness levels over the festive period so I went for a Boxing Day run and I fell over and now have a disgusting bruised and scabby knee. However it could have been worse because the fall was dramatic and even my face hit the ground - no more judging people who manage to fall on their face, turns out it's an easy thing to do.

Anyway these velvet kinda flares kinda wide leg pants saved the day when I teamed them with this bargain £7 top from Asos. I felt far from NYE appropriate but I did love this outfit.

If you're reading this and you have also fallen flat on your face please feel free to let me know so I can feel like less of a clumsy idiot xo

OOTN: Floral x Velvet

My skin circa the time I rediscovered moisturiser

Obviously there are lots of products and options out there aimed at clearing your skin and preventing breakouts, and all of them claim to work. Yet if this is true why are most of us still on the hunt for perfect, clear skin?

While I am no expert, I have been prone to spots and breakouts since I was around 17 and during this time I have tried and tested tons of products, tablets and pills and read up on herbal remedies, Googled a lot, and interviewed dermatologists and nutritionists (both for jobs and for myself).

Going to the doctor is always a good idea, even if you don't think your skin is bad enough to justify this kind of medical attention - honestly they'll help. However you really should consider whether or not you want to go down the prescription route as tablets all have side effects and they don't always work.

After trying various tablets and pills to no avail I recently decided to go down the natural route. I stopped taking the antibiotics I had been prescribed and all was well, my skin even seemed to clear up completely, so I decided to stop using my Benzoyl peroxide gel I had been prescribed too (a thin gel which you apply once or twice a day) because it does dry out your skin, and I was concerned it would give me early wrinkles and what not (apparently it doesn't). PLUS when I went to Boots for a skin type test (which I would recommend, they use a little machine to determine your oiliness/dryness/ageing etc, then suggest relevant products) I was told my skin was actually really dry, not oily and this could in itself be causing the spots as the dry skin could clog pores.

So I invested in a hot cloth cleanser and No. 7's normal/dry moisturisers (I only got both day and night because it was 3 for the price of 2, it really isn't vital as they're practically the same but the day one has SPF and the night one is ever so slightly thicker in consistency). Soon after starting this regime my skin cleared up and I got cocky and stopped using my Benzoyl peroxide cream, stopped taking Yasmin (a pill which doctors usually suggest to anyone who goes to them with skin complaints) and obviously had already stopped taking any other skin tablets so I was loving life feeling super healthy and natural.

Then I got a breakout. This was so frustrating as my skin actually felt glowing and moisturised again then bam, back to having to use drying products. I did however decide this time that I could in fact use the Benzoyl peroxide gel sparingly, once a day maybe instead of twice and use moisturiser along with it. Previously I was avoiding any skin product that wasn't aimed at spot prone skin which meant none of my skin products were particularly moisturising, and in fact most were drying which, as Boots pointed out, probably wasn't helping.

So after all of this experimentation my conclusions for healthy, glowing, clear skin are as follows:

1. Don't be tempted to touch your face or any spots you might get. I am so guilty of this, but every time I have asked a skin expert for advice or further medication they have told me the best thing I can do isn't to take tablets it's to just stop touching my face. And when I have actually fully concentrated on this my skin has gotten a million times better. So yeah guilty of creating the majority of my problems myself.

2. Secondly do try a Benzoyl peroxide gel. BP is what's used in the majority of spot treatments and is proven to work which is why it's recommended by the docs. It breaks down surface skin cells to get rid of spots (kinda like a chemical peel which you pay $$$$$ for) and prevents new ones forming thanks to its antibacterial properties. Plus it literally eliminates oily skin. If your skin is super oily it will probably solve all your problems, mine is combination so it tends to make it a bit dry when I use it every single day. You can get this prescribed by your doctor and you can purchase online from Chemist Direct. This is the one I use, Acnecide (the name really makes me believe in it), but this one, PanOxyl, is slightly stronger.

3. Thirdly - don't stop moisturising. Moisturised skin doesn't mean spots, oily skin does. As you use a non-comedogenic (none pore blocking) range, it won't give you spots. All No. 7's products are non-comedogenic and they're a good price so if in doubt, go to the No.7 counter. I currently use the Beautiful Skin Normal/Dry day cream, the night cream from the same range and their hot cloth cleanser. And as my face is 10 x paler than my body I occasionally use Xen tan face moisturiser which doesn't seem to break me out. I used to use Dove's tanning moisturiser on my face as well as my body when I wanted a tan, until the lady in Boots told me this was a terrible, terrible thing to do (apparently body moisturisers are too thick for your face and will suffocate your pores - skin sin no. 1).

4. Do take supplements if you can afford them. Probiotics, ZincEvening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 are among those with spot preventing properties. Probiotics help balance gut bacteria which can cause acne, zinc could help because people who suffer from acne often have lower levels of it, while Evening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 balance hormones. I try to take them daily, and fail, but when I do manage they do seem to make a difference. After all our bodies are much better at looking after themselves if we provide them with the correct nutrients/fuel to do so, and though some people say we should be achieving this through our diet, lets face it most of don't. I mean, obviously try to eat as much fruit and veg as poss, as they all have vitamins and nutrients which help our immune systems and general health including that of our skin.

5. Avoid dairy. Dairy is the only food really shown to correlate with bad skin (in an actual expert study and also in my life). Plus why do you need cows milk when almond milk exists, it's so much tastier and lower in calories by like 1 million percent.

Clear skin solutions



I have already 'invested' in a few sale items this festive season, including Topshop's silver boots of dreams in the photo above - I have wanted them forever but I couldn't justify the £79 price tag, when I saw them reduced to £60 I was semi-swayed, then when I found they were a mere £40 I could no longer resist.

Motel's Finn dress, also above, is another one. It's not necessarily in the sale but Motel are putting on constant 25/30% off codes over Christmas s I got it for £38.50 rather than the usual £50.

I've also purchased a white lettuce hem crop top from Urban Outfitters (similar here) and a leopard print mini skirt from Miss Selfridge (below), which I bought mainly to wear with my Slayer tee, but I have since discovered it's a lot more versatile than I originally imagined, I've worn it with the white crop, black tops and black jumpers, and I'm sure it would also look cool with something metallic/sequinned too.

However, since Christmas Day I have obviously been scouring the internet for more bargains (wouldn't want to miss out)  and have found some beautiful ones... I perhaps need to limit how many of the below I buy because unfortunately I don't actually have an endless pot of money...

Motel Finn dress in black opal
Motel Finn dress in black opal, as above.

Topshop silver platform boots
Silver platforms, Topshop (link above)

Leopard mini skirt Miss Selfridge
Leopard skirt, £16 from £32, Miss Selfridge

knot tie black jumpsuit zara
Jumpsuit, £25.99 from £49.99, Zara

zara embroidered bomber jacket
Bomber jacket, £39.99 from £59.99, Zara
zara red faux leather jacket
Jacket, £29.99 from £39.99, Zara
Glamorous red floral jumpsuit
Glamorous jumpsuit, £25 from £50, Asos

crocodile leather ring belt topshop
Round buckle belt, £15 from £25, Topshop


oriental black floral blouse zara
Top, £17.99 from £25.99, Zara



backless midi dress & other stories
Asos chevron sequin top
Chevron top, £45.50 from £65, Asos
Red plunge dress Asos
John Zack petite dress, £26.50 from £38, Asos

Metallic jumpsuit & other stories
Halter neck jumpsuit £33 from £65, & Other Stories

floral cami topshop
Strappy cami, £12 from £24, Topshop

Topshop glitter platforms

Topshop long sleeve floral top
Long sleeve top, £15 from £32, Topshop
light pink satin heels topshop
Regina heels, £25 from £56, Topshop

velvet platform sandals topshop
Major cross strap velvet heels, £18 Topshop

purple velvet culottes topshop
Velvet pleated culottes, £36 to £18 Topshop

pink ribbed polo neck topshop
Ribbed top, £15 from £34, Toyshop


sheer Star print blouse, nobody's child
Star print blouse, £15 from £25, Nobody's Child



Sales picks

Central Oven & Shaker neon lights
Central Oven & Shaker Newcastle interior
Central Oven & Shaker salad, pizza and garlic bread
Central Oven & Shaker, Newcastle table settings
Central Oven & Shaker, Newcastle sweet potato fries, salad and garlic bread
Central Oven & Shaker pepperoni pizza
Central Oven & Shaker newcastle Heat N Meat pizza


As someone who isn't a massive pizza fan (yes, I know this is shocking)  I wouldn't have predicted I'd be so desperate to check out a new pizza place. But what with also being massively shallow, the interior styling of this newly opened eatery (which is across from Central Station in Newcastle) captivated me.

The industrial space is filled with beautiful 60's furniture, diner style accessories and a nice sprinkling of greenery, with neon signs giving everything a nice pink tinge.

Now, to move onto the food. I went for the healthy option, the 'Clean & Green' - courgette spirals with avocado, tomato, spinach and pesto (due to not being a huge pizza fan). It arrived with a side of garlic bread and the sweet potato fries which I ordered separately. It was lovely, but I was really pleased it came with the garlic bread because otherwise I would have been massively jealous of the pizzas my parents ordered - this place are 100% pros when it comes to carbs.

My mum got the pepperoni pizza and my dad got the Heat 'N Meat which, as you can see above had chicken, sausage, bacon and chillies on, the latter of which he donated to my mum and I as he hates hot things (?!), and he said the dough was one of the best he has tried.

We got a side of normal fries too which you can't see in these photos but they arrived in an actual wooden crate, so you get double the amount of normal fries than you do the sweet potato fries. Or so it seemed, but it could have been a bit of an optical illusion.

Drinks wise we didn't have any alcohol here, I had a Coke and my parents had tonic water, which I was pleased to see was by local supplier Fentimans.

The atmosphere of the place is somewhere between club and restaurant, with good music and a cocktail bar area where you can just sip a few of their amazing looking beverages. I am definitely going to have to return to try the cocktail menu, they had some delish looking exclusives, one of which featured candyfloss.

www.centralnewcastle.co.uk 
FB: Central Slice
IG: @centralslice
TW: @centralslice












Central Oven & Shaker Review